Podcast on queer/queering sex

You guys have to listen to this episode. Tina Horn interviews the manager of my favorite toy store in New York (sorry Babeland; can’t beat the Pleasure Chest’s selection!) in an amazing conversation about queer as the opposite of capitalist in the context of sex: sex that is creative and not procreative, that takes up time and money and is solely for the purpose of pleasure and personal expression.

Listen to the episode here.

Pangs of jealousy when they talked about just how much creative queer sex they have.


Body positivity is not just for women

“There’s something manly about a big gut, huh?” my brother asked his wife, in reference to a relative’s beer gut.

She smiled as she pursed her lips and cocked her head.

“I guess it’s pretty unhealthy…” my brother responded.

We’re not a skinny family. My brothers and I all struggle with our weight, though you wouldn’t tell by looking at us; we’re all very active. I’ve borne the brunt of my mother’s scrutiny, as a girl, but we’ve all felt it. Growing up with a skinny mother who constantly puts down her looks (and by extension, ours… we have the same genetics… also shut up mom if you think you’re fat then what do you think I am?…I’m not bitter…) really put a psychological strain on all of us.

I wanted to say so much to my brother in that moment: that it was sexist to imply that belly fat was masculine, as if belly fat has a gender; that he should turn his attitude around before his daughter grows up, because she is sure to have her own insecurities; and that a beer gut being unhealthy isn’t the counterargument to “but it’s manly!” (they are separate things).

In many cultures, a big gut on men is indeed celebrated as a rite of passage for married men. There is definitely a cultural connection to manliness. But if you’re going to say that you have the privilege of gaining weight because you’re a man, you had better think about the implications of this line of thought for the women in your life.

That being said, I know the household he grew up in, I know how we all internalize guilt about our bodies; I empathize with him. I haven’t overcome my own body issues overnight; how can I expect my brother to?

I’m working hard on being body-positive myself, but I also want to be an ally for men with body image issues, and that is an entirely different type of body positivity than for women. There is some overlap, but I feel that my experience being a non-skinny woman does not necessarily make me a good ally for men.

There are so many body-positive fashion bloggers, clothing lines, and spokespeople popping up all over the place for women, and while we have absolutely not closed the gap on positive representation for fat women, men with eating disorders and negative body image go largely ignored. “Oh whatever, you’re a guy, you can get away with anything.” It’s true, male privilege is a thing; but that doesn’t mean men’s lives are automatically anything. Especially if we’re talking about the intersectionality of male body positivity and the LGBTQ community. I once had dinner with a group of gay men, several of whom were talking about the diets they were going on in order to lose weight for summer, boyfriends who dumped them for gaining weight, etc. Not every LGBTQ man feels this pressure, but it is a far more pervasive issue than is publicly acknowledged. I don’t even know about intersectionality with other identities. But I will say from first hand experience, jewish guilt doesn’t help.

Even straight white cisgendered fit men like my brother can have issues with their body image; and even if they don’t, they could always be better role models for those around them who look up to them. Healthy self-esteem carries over to everyone in our lives. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Here are just a few body-positive resources for you menfolk/masculinefolk/anyone to whom femme/female body positivity doesn’t apply:

  • Dressman “underwear for the perfect man”, and other body-positive campaigns for men. (By the way the Modcloth male employees campaign is super cute… especially a quote from one of the guys saying that the confidence of the women in the women’s shoot inspired him to wear a swimsuit for the men’s shoot!)
  • This Bustle roundup. Tons of wonderful masculine fashion inspiration for plus-sized bodies.
  • This Ravishly roundup. Brings to light the intersection between body positivity and maleness in our culture, and the pressure to “man up” when one’s self-esteem isn’t at its best.
  • This “body positivity for guys” tumblr, which specifies itself as “A body positivity blog specifically for all of us male-identified, masculine-bodied, and/or masculine-presenting people of Tumblr.” There are some wonderfully diverse gender presentations on here.
  • This other male body health and love tumblr. Again, very queer-friendly. (Can there be any other kind of body positivity?)

Exercise or don’t. Wear what you want to wear. Be yourself. Male or female, masculine or feminine, cis or trans*, queer or straight… most of us need a little body positivity.

Happy Friday!


Period shame is a social issue

In 7th and 8th grade, 3 friends and I shared a locker, decorating it together and leaving notes for each other. We were a weird crew, and our togetherness made the misery of middle school that much more bearable. One day I went to our locker for a textbook and saw one of my friends, sweatshirt tied around her waist, grabbing her down jacket. “Are you cold, A?” “No… I uh… I’m bleeding, and I think I already bled through my pants and my sweatshirt.” “Oh, A, just go to the nurse and get another pad!” “No, it’s okay, I’ll just tie my jacket around my waist.” “I’ll go with you. Or E can go with you if you want her to.” “No really it’s okay, I don’t want to ask the nurse.” By the end of the day she’d bloodied a sweatshirt, a down jacket, her pants and her underwear because she couldn’t stand the thought of going to the nurse to bring up her needs.

Period shame in this country is bad enough; in many places it can keep menstruating students from getting an education, from playing with other kids, from going about their normal daily lives.

I go on camping trips with a lot of guys. I have had health problems related to my menstruation. So regardless of my audience, I definitely might talk about my period more than others. But my tolerance for squeamishness regarding menstruation–without concurrent squeamishness regarding any other bleeding– is about as high as my tolerance for machismo. I was told to hide my used pads as a teen; I would roll them up in the plastic they came in and throw them out, but the blood would still be visible from the other side I guess. The idea that “nobody wants to hear about your period” is one I find really frustrating; and although I’m not about to wave a bloody tampon under someone’s nose (my goal isn’t to make people uncomfortable; at least not in such an in-your-face way, and besides it’s menstrual cup territory over here, and those are way messier to wave around) but I don’t make nearly as much of an effort to hide it as I used to.

And let me be clear: I really like my period. Not because it’s pleasant. It’s not; I was up til 5:30 AM with horrible cramps last night, and in general it’s no picnic. I like it because it’s an indicator that all is well in my uterine world. I like starting a new month with a squeaky clean uterus. Before a period I tend to eat a lot and be really lethargic; afterwards I feel like a new person, energized and with a normal less sugar-infused appetite. To me, this is all an indicator of the health I am very lucky to have: with every menstruation comes a wave of gratitude. So when I talk about it, it’s not a dirty thing I’m talking about; it’s a positive aspect of my life. I recently started tracking it with this “non-pink” period tracker, to get to know my body even better.

Not only do I feel it’s a positive thing; I also feel it’s something that should be talked about. Presumably some of the men in my life will go on to have kids, some of which will menstruate; what if they’re still grossed out then? What if they date someone who has abnormal bleeding, and that partner feels they can’t talk about it for fear of grossing out their partner? Not everyone likes their period, but at the very least, we shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about it. And I’d like to think that if I ever date someone with a penis and they have some health problem specific to their plumbing, I would return the favor and listen maturely.

Shame keeps us using non-biodegradable disposables, it keeps us from talking about our body issues when they come up, it keeps us distant from one another. For every teenager who didn’t know what was happening, watching horrified as drops of blood leave their body, who could not leave the house because they didn’t have access to affordable clean menstrual hygiene products, period shame is a human rights issue. I don’t pretend I’m changing the world here, but if a guy asks me what’s that in my hand that I’m taking to the bathroom: “why, that’s my cup and a pad.” Then I hold my head high and walk quickly.

In this spirit, I decided to share my extensive knowledge after test-driving a handful of reusable cloth pads, which I raved about excitedly here. I still stick with the cup for primary protection, but I always need pads as backup, especially at night. If you’re curious about buying or making reusable pads, here’s what I look for in a solidly constructed one:

  1. Fleece on the bottom. It keeps everything from sliding around. This is super helpful; is now non-negotiable for me.
  2. A layer of PUL for everything except liner-weight pads. This is a waterproof food-grade “PolyUrethane Laminate” that keeps moisture from leaking through. That being said, when heavy protection isn’t needed, omitting this material increases breathability. A natural alternative is wool, which I haven’t used but may work okay.
  3. Wings with some kind of closure. You won’t feel this when you’re wearing it. Plastic is better than metal as it will not rust even after repeated washes. Buttons are probably okay.
  4. A top layer made of flannel, jersey or fleece. There’s also this fleece called “Minky” that’s particularly awesome at managing moisture; it keeps the dry feeling way better than natural materials. Cotton weave is okay, but until the top layer gets saturated moisture just sits on top. (This poster agrees.) Flannel comes in a ton of patterns, so if you want ninjas, astronauts, or unicorns on your bum all day long you’ll most likely find it in flannel. Fleece/velour (synthetic, cotton, or bamboo) is awesome for heavy flows, but no astronauts as far as I can tell.
  5. Speaking of patterns: I look for fun patterns (I have Superman, watermelons, planets, polka dots, skulls…), but also I like to hvae either a white bleachable material or a dark stain-masking material. And synthetics like polyester fleece just repel stains better than natural materials.
  6. A good amount of absorbency, achieved either through several layers of cloth or one ultra-abosrbant layer of something called Zorb. Zorb feels most like a thin store-bought pad, without relying on several thick layers of cotton/bamboo/core material of choice. But it’s also man-made which may be less than ideal.
  7. Optional: an adjustable amount of absorption. Several brands and etsy shops have removable stackable liners; one has cloth pads folded in 1/3s which means you can stick an extra absorbent thing in the middle if you need it.

I don’t worry too much about synthetic materials, since these are more eco friendly and less chemical-leaching than pads and tampons anyways. But if that’s important to you, there are tons of shops out there that sell all-natural pads. Still, my opinion is that this may be one of those cases where synthetics are just BETTER: easier to clean, dryer-feeling, more leak-proof, less bulky. (Though I still often stick to a cotton top layer because of the prints.) Pick wisely and you’re bound to get something you can use for years, maybe decades.

Especially after dealing with a menstrual cup for years, cleanup isn’t too bad: I usually just soak it in water, rub some bar soap or pour some laundry detergent on it and scrub for a couple minutes, then rinse and hang dry before tossing it in the hamper. For my white ones, I bleach them every few months to keep them looking good as new. I still prefer my non-white ones though. I can’t resist a good dinosaur print.

How to do fitness tracking and still be a feminist and a human being

Everyday Feminism is wonderful. They hit the nail on the head about fitness tracking in “Your fitbit is ruining your relationship with your body — here are 3 reasons why”. I never got a fitbit but I’ve done all sorts of fitness tracking. I’ve tried to use pedometers at various stages, and I’ve done MyFitnessPal calorie tracking, and, yes, I’ve used them to lose weight.

Well, after reading that article, plus delving a bit into the internet, plus thinking back to my own experience, I realized how calorie tracking can encouraging disordered eating. It really is what you make of it, and if you have a tendency toward disordered eating, it can make you hyperaware of what you’re eating and how you’re exercising, and not in a good way.

In theory there’s nothing wrong with tracking to get healthy. In practice, it can often be used to justify fat shaming… in numbers. (And it’s not as easy as just eating salad: salad is overrated. Plus more expensive.) But it’s easy to see how tracking calories could be addictive for the sake of losing weight which, as we know, is neither the whole picture of health nor is it for everyone. But I do think I learned a lot from tracking, and I do think there are ways to use it for your benefit.

  1. You don’t have to use it to lose weight. The apps were all built for weight loss facilitation: the numbers go red if you’re over but green if you’re under your daily caloric needs, even if you input weight gain as your goal. That’s a problem. But you don’t have to make that your goal. Instead, use it to track something like, say, how much sugar you’re eating. Substitute fiber and protein and fat for that sugar; see how that feels. These apps have a lot of potential beyond weight LOSS to tell you what the breakdown of your diet is. Because unfortunately, our food system (especially in the city where I live, where I tend to eat out a few times a day) tends to promote unhealthy choices, and that doesn’t necessarily mean more calories but includes it. If you track what you eat and find that your once-a-week muffin turned into 4-times-a-week, then maybe you can try to sub something a little bit more balanced.
  2. Use fitness tracking to log exercise and active transport. This is obviously only one for able-bodied people; your needs may be different depending on your abilities. But one thing I like about pedometers is that they can track your daily activity, outside of regimented exercise. Obviously, you can rely on intuition to know, but say that you make a resolution to exercise 5 days a week but you happened to have a day where you are too tired to go to the gym, and you go to your pedometer and find that you walked 20,000 steps! Then maybe the laziness is justified. Or maybe you’re tired because you only walked 2,000 steps. Or maybe you’re debating whether to take the crowded train and save 15 minutes over walking… maybe you’ll remember that you’d be rewarded with an extra few thousand steps and that will get you to make the choice. Sometimes I’m just not aware of how sedentary or active I’m being; and walking is one of those exercises that’s very hard to overdo, and that almost always makes me feel better. On the other hand, we shouldn’t be thinking of any active transport as “exercise”… maybe we should rebrand it as “active transport”.
  3. Use it for a while… then stop. This is ESPECIALLY true for the food one: you don’t want to be logging calories forever. Enjoy your vacation, enjoy your brunches, enjoy not trying to recall if you ate one slice of bacon or two. Remember to enjoy food. The way I see tracking is it’s a good way of assessing your baseline, identifying issues (“hmm, I seem to be eating all fried foods for dinner lately…”) and becoming more aware of the food choices you make. I’ve been eating a lot of sweet foods lately, concurrent with an increase in stress, so I may choose to log for a week sometime soon. But this doesn’t have to be something I do forever, only as a means for figuring out how I’m doing in navigating the prepared-food-choices available to me.
  4. Take into account your individual needs. If you have a history of disordered eating, maybe tracking will help you realize you are allowed to eat more than you are; or maybe it’ll trigger disordered thinking again. If you have a chronic illness or disability, better food choices will likely not fix everything. Depending on your individual case, you will need to decide what is right for you. Maybe exercise tracking is okay but calorie tracking isn’t, or maybe you just want to track sugar, or maybe you just want to track your heart rate, or maybe you don’t want to track at all.
  5. Think about other fitness trackers. For example:
    1. Tracking heart rate. Everyone has a heart rate, and it’s easy to measure. My high school cross country coach told us to do this first thing in the morning, since an elevated heart rate is usually the first sign of illness. But you may also find that if you’ve stuck with your walking-briskly-to-work routine your resting heart rate goes down accordingly.
    2. Tracking bike rides or running/walking routes, and sharing them with friends. This is a form of tracking that can be social and can help you keep a record of your adventures.
    3. Sleep tracking. If you are frequently sleep-deprived, this may help you figure out which nights you get the worst quality sleep.
  6. Last but not least, fitness tracking should be optional. In that Everyday Feminism article, there is mention of a health app that can’t be deleted from the phone; I have a few friends who have the same tracker. This is horrible news for someone trying to quit disordered eating/tracking: if the app is right there, they may fall into old patterns. This is a trend that must be stopped. We don’t all want our smartphones to be our nannies; it’s important to be able to pick and choose what apps are okay for our lifestyles. By making it a permanent app, your smartphone is saying it knows your health needs better than you. Screw you, smartphone.

What’s the takehome? It should be obvious by now that:

  • We can’t equate fat with health. 
  • We can’t say that our bodies are entirely our choices: they’re shaped by the options available to us, by our ability status, by our health status.
  • One-size-fits-all approaches don’t work.
  • Fat shaming doesn’t work.
  • Only tracking fat or calories is a surefire way to reduce your complex lifestyle to a single number. And that is a surefire way to get bored with life.

On the flipside, fitness trackers aren’t inherently evil; they can work with your feminist lifestyle. But they must be optional, and they must be varied.

One thing I do wish though, is that there were food trackers that also logged the following:

  • Cost of the meal, to analyze what’s the most bang-for-your-buck.
  • How seasonal that meal is.
  • How big a carbon footprint for that time of year for that geographical locale.

Those are things I’d love to know.

Gender-flexible underthings

I’m very excited about this post. I love talking about underthings! Because I believe in the power of underthings. The articles of clothing that people don’t see have the power to transform us into secret super heroes. And we all know how fond superheroes are of showing off their underwear by wearing it over their outfits (here’s why, by the way; and here’s a better why).

Not everyone cares about underthings; some just want them to disappear on their bodies, and some opt out of them altogether. Whether underthings really matter to a person, either as functional/foundational elements or aesthetically pleasing outfits in and of themselves, is a matter of personal preference. But for me personally, I see underwear as a piece of personal expression that nobody else (or a very select audience!) will witness. I mean, the first masculine clothing I bought was boxer briefs. My first racy bra was something nobody else saw because I was a virgin at the time, but I felt so awesome in it! My fraught relationship with my body is sometimes at its best when I’m wearing nothing but underwear; there’s no “work-appropriate” or “flattering”, there’s just me and my body. And lately, I’ve been experiencing a need to shake stuff up, and not just to bind my chest flat but to wear it proudly.

I’m all over the gender spectrum, but when it comes to undergarments, there is something super awesome about lingerie shopping. For one, many lingerie websites (especially gender-inclusive ones) are starting to include larger models, making for a more accurate (and empowering) shopping experience. When curvy models appear for a special line of “curvy” clothing for some website or another, it’s like they’re throwing women a bone… a curvy bone… wrapped in drapey, ill-fitting smocks. With lingerie, there is no hiding the body behind a black frumpy t-shit–which I mean, how long did it take them to design that?! 3 minutes? Some designer deserves the “biggest slacker” prize for that one. (This used to be my beef with ASOS, but it looks like they have a decent selection. More on ASOS in a sec.)

For another, if you are a sexual person (which not everyone is), there’s something about privately sexualizing one’s own body that is really empowering. Whether that means binders/tanks + men’s briefs, or racy bras + boxers, or all out femme-lacy-glamour, displaying one’s body for the benefit of a select audience (oneself, a partner, many partners) can feel awesome. Or even if you’re not a sexual person, maybe knowing that you can choose your own undergarments–regardless of the pressures you feel to present a certain way when clothed, in a world that wants to sexualize you–can also feel empowering. I can’t speak to the asexual experience, so I’ll spend the rest of the time speaking personally about assuming a sexual experience.

Sometimes when my relationship with my body is at its worst, there is one force that can overpower my body shame: my sexuality. Engaging with said sexuality is a very empowering experience in my own body, whether alone or with a partner. For me to not just be okay getting naked, but to WANT to show off my body in undergarments I choose, which reflect my own personal beauty standards, is a pretty awesome experience.

Since I’m all over the gender maps (some days I bind, some days I go all lace and frills), I wind up doing gender very differently through my undergarments depending on the day. But while my external clothing is usually on the tomboy-femme region of the spectrum, my true feelings about my gender on a particular day are reflected by what I’m wearing underneath.

As far as my current selection: I own zero thongs (they are the makings of the devil), a couple plain bikini briefs, several lace-y but casual boyshorts, some boxer-briefs, and a few boxers (mostly for sleeping). The distribution is about 50/50 men’s and women’s underwear. I also own an even distribution of binders, sports bras, and underwire bras.

I’m typically for practicality, but lately I’ve gone in the pursuit of fun. I wrote once about how I love boxer-briefs, which are predominantly for men but I always pick femme-y patterns for them. Now I’ve gone in search of funderwear for women that also captures the level of androgyny I’m interested in exuding. But a lot of lingerie (especially sustainable eco-friendly brands, and especially androgynous brands) caters to A-C cups, is only available abroad, is perpetually out of stock, or is uber expensive. Maybe, if they’re perpetually out of stock, there’s a sizable market there that someone should take advantage of! Ever think of that?! And ALSO maybe more bigger-chested women want the option of not having pastel-colored lacy padded craziness?! Anyways.

I like masculinity some days, but other days I don’t. But if I force myself to embody masculinity as my way of expressing androgyny, I’m not really being myself. So I’m looking for a better balance to express my gender in an androgynous manner.

So what does androgyny in lingerie even entail?? Best to defer to an expert on this one. The Lingerie Addict says this:

Much of the time, androgyny ends up being defined by absences. The “androgynous model” is often someone with no facial hair, minimal curves, no heavy musculature. To a degree, we “read” people’s genders by running down a checklist of traits like these. Breasts? Probably female. Beard? Probably male. Both? Takes a little more figuring out. When we look at clothing, the ideas are more abstract. We look at fit, color, and design elements to get a sense of what gender the piece of clothing is oriented towards.

Lingerie that doesn’t do the traditional girly moves, or lingerie that downplays feminine-coded parts of the body, definitely is part of my definition of androgyny. But there’s another way for lingerie to be androgynous, and that’s by not just minimizing gender, but by counterbalancing it.

Brands often create androgyny in their lingerie by adding masculine elements to a garment intended for women (or more rarely, the opposite: some feminine detailing on a garment intended for men.) Play Out includes a thick, labeled waistband on their underwear (a typically masculine feature), which they pair with tropical florals and abstract prints which are less gendered. Other companies use contrast piping and Y-fronts on underwear cut for women in order to give it a more androgynous feel.

But masculinity and androgyny are not the same thing. Some people will assume that if you’re wearing all masculine underwear and happen to have two X chromosomes, that means that your lingerie look is androgynous. I don’t think this is always true. Some masculine-of-center folks don’t convey much androgyny in their looks at all: they look masculine, full stop. I think that the exact tipping point between androgynous and masculine (or androgynous and feminine) is a matter of taste and consensus, but often for a look to be androgynous, the wearer has to be balancing elements.

So either you can create androgyny by subtracting feminine qualities or by adding masculine qualities.

In the category of subtracting femininity, the stuff I tend to prefer includes:

  • Wider straps over thin straps.
  • Racerback/T-back over normal straps.
  • No bows, no frills, absolutely NO rhinestones.
  • Minimal lace; mesh is a nonoffensive alternative. Big cutouts and strappy details are awesome as well.
  • Color alternatives to black/white/red/pink, including more masculine/sporty colors like blues, greens, oranges, grays, and browns.
  • Anything but a push-up. PLEASE. DEAR GOD SAVE US FROM THE UBIQUITOUS PUSHUP. This can be surprisingly annoying, but there do seem to be more options these days.

And in the category of balancing:

  • Wearing something masculine on the bottom and feminine on top, or neutral on top and feminine on the bottom, or neutral and neutral. Eg boxer-briefs with a girly bra, or a sports bra with lacy underwear.
  • Wide thick straps and structure coupled with lace
  • Wide waistbands on feminine briefs
  • Lace in blue/green/orange/gray
  • Guy’s shorts and a baggy hoodie with really girly underthings

The Lingerie Lesbian has some examples that I can get on board with. As does Autostraddle.

If you’re curious, I’ve found a few affordable (ish) options to buy stuff, including a lot of Etsy shops. Encompassing a wide range of gender identities and expressions, here they are:

  • OrigamiCustoms on Etsy. My favorite on this list. They are great because they’re eco-friendly, very androgynous in their styling, and also super queer friendly, with several non-boring unisex and genderqueer/trans* listings, for transmasculine or transfeminine folk. Also, they carry a binder in like a million colors!

  • Majorey on Etsy, which have things like this blue/mesh sports bra. About as sexy-tomboy as you can get. They have some really sexy stuff period.

  • IHeartNorwegianWood on Etsy. I know, a lot of Etsy… it’s where it’s at! They carry lots of mesh, leather, strappy stuff, and even some non-black non-leather harnesses which is cool cuz you can wear it with any bra that suits your gender expression or even over clothing. Kindof a cool concept. Skews feminine, though with minimal frills or lace or pink. A really cool tomboy-femme aesthetic.

  • Other Etsy shops:
  • Foxers, a somewhat new shop that has everything from thongs to all-over lace boxers to boyshorts to boxerbriefs to men’s boxers; and just like with Stonemen, the styling doesn’t deviate too much between the “men’s” and the “women’s”, just the cut. They also carry lace bras and sports bras and tanks. They’re not my favorite aesthetic for some reason, but they’re otherwise great and you should check em out.

  • If we’re talking affordable, ASOS is the way to go, for masculine or feminine lingerie.
    • Starting on the masculine side, they have all these fun colorful boxers and boxer-briefs. I love when there are really sexy masculine options (like these) because honestly, are cis heterosexual men the only ones turned on by sexy underwear? Maybe if I hadn’t hooked up with so many guys wearing stretched out, worn out boxers I would still be straight! (kidding!!) They also have non-sexy fun options like this polkadotted awesomeness. My favorite place for affordable masculine underwear.
      • Sidenote: there are other places to buy stuff along same vein as the first pair of “sexy masculine” boxer-briefs, see here and here.
    • As for tomboy stuff/masculine-styled undethings, they definitely deliver, with this and this. It’s pretty great. They even carry some nice Nike sports bras (which I think are pretty ineffective for my rack of lamb, but hot/masculine-of-center and aesthetically pleasing nonetheless.
    • They also have a lot of kink-inspired but not full-on bondage-y stuff that is really hot. Call me a wimp but I don’t feel like I gel with an all-leather harness or explicit bondage-wear; I do however love the straps and the risque styling of some of these pieces, which leave off lace and bows (I seriously think I’m allergic). See here and here and also here. Oh yeah, and they have some great fuller-bust options as well, and their sizes go up to a 40FF.
  • A practical but more femme option for bigger busts, Freya are awesome. So this one time when I had gone up a cup size yet again I went shopping with my mom for bras, and I bought a few of these, plus a couple cheaper DKNY/etc options. And of course, I hardly ever wore the cheap ones and stuck to the two Freya ones I bought. For underwire bras, they are tied with Calvin Klein in my book; yes they’re pretty feminine but they have some inoffensive, fuller-coverage, basic, and sports-bra styles. They’re kindof on the more expensive side, but they sometimes go on sale. Either way they don’t really break the bank.
  • Last but not least, Bluestockings Boutique is a super inclusive online shop, where there’s no such thing as “nude” colored bras because i mean, since when does everyone look like a bandaid? They also have binders and packing briefs as well as femme options. Check ’em out.

For other resources, check out The Lingerie Addict and The Lingerie Lesbian for amazing queer-inclusive body-positive feminist smart discussions of something that traditionally caters to the male gaze and to femme-of center women. It’s pretty awesome.

Also, HerRoom has a (women’s) lingerie guide for men! It looks like it caters more to cross-dressers in their language, but nevertheless it’s very comprehensive for MAAB-bodied people, I think; correct me if I’m wrong. And they have reviews by male customers.

What are your opinions on underthings?